New Year’s Resolutions and Divorce

New Year's 2016 image

Did you make a resolution this year to stop smoking, lose weight, reduce your debt? Or maybe you resolved that this is the year to get a divorce.

The origins of New Year’s resolutions, according to Gordon North in his ezine article goes back to ancient Babylon and Roman times about 2000 BC. For just as long a time, people have been breaking their New Year’s resolutions.

Anja Pujic in her blog at Suite 101 has good advice about how best to keep your resolutions. She  offers the following:

“When setting your New Year’s goals, use these guidelines to start you off on the right track:

1. Don’t be afraid of failure. The trick is not to put so much pressure on yourself that you start doubting your ability to achieve your goal. Tell yourself that this is something you would like to achieve one day. Doing so will make it seem less like a chore and more like a hobby.
2. Don’t put a time limit on your resolution. If it takes one year, that’s great; if it takes longer, then it’s no big deal. By giving yourself a little bit of breathing room, you reduce pressure and stress and make your resolution easier to achieve and more enjoyable.
3. Don’t make your resolution too ambitious. Set and stick to realistic goals because you are more likely to achieve them and less likely to be disappointed in yourself.
4. Practice discipline in every aspect of your life. This will make it easier to discipline yourself to follow through with your resolution. When you feel tempted to procrastinate, remember that the sooner you start working on your resolution, the faster and easier it will be to attain.
5. Take baby steps. You cannot reach your New Year’s resolution overnight so don’t expect to. If you do, you are more likely to become disappointed in yourself, lose motivation and, in the end, fail.
6. Tell someone about your resolution so that it feels real. Even better, find someone with the same resolution and support each other along the way. Talking to someone who is going through the same thing as you are can be a great source of relief, encouragement and support during moments of weakness. It can also help build and develop great lifelong relationships between people.”

We normally see a surge in clients in the New Year, seeking a divorce for the same reasons people make resolutions at New Year.  The New Year brings with it a new resolve to make things better in our lives. Clients struggle through the holiday period, doing their best to “hold it together”. Nobody wants to be accused of being Scrooge by seeking a divorce at Christmas. So, in January, clients come to our office in droves, wanting to improve their lives through a divorce.

Constance Ahrons in her book The Good Divorce says that her research indicates that most divorced people don’t regret getting a divorce but wish they had started the process sooner and not “held out”.

If you have decided this is the year for you to get a divorce, apply Anja’s principles to the process:

  1. Don’t be afraid of failure. You are not alone. About 50% of marriages end in divorce and they manage to get through it. So will you.
  2. Don’t put a time limit on your resolution. The divorce takes time and is a painful process at best. Just take one day at a time. Remember the process goes as fast as the slowest person. If you are the one initiating the divorce, your spouse is probably not there yet emotionally and will need some time to catch up. Be patient.
  3. Don’t make your resolution too ambitious. Divorce is a monumental change in your life. Set reasonable, smaller, achievable goals to keep yourself moving forward to your new life.
  4. Practice discipline in every aspect of your life. Find healthy ways of coping with your divorce. Use discipline to avoid falling into unhealthy coping techniques such as over drinking or drug use. Get exercise, eat properly and get adequate sleep. Find a Divorce Coach who will help you stay the course.
  5. Take baby steps. Make a list of the things that have to be done, and then break down each item into smaller steps. Take one step at a time and then celebrate your daily successes. Start with finding the right lawyer (a Collaboratively trained divorce lawyer) who will help you work through the issues. Also, find a good Divorce Coach to help you through the emotional journey. That’s a good start.
  6. Tell someone about your resolution so that it feels real. Most people start by telling their family (brothers, sisters, parents) about their decision to get a divorce. Seek out positive, supportive people in your life who will comfort you when you need them.

I don’t advocate that you get a divorce if you have a fulfilling, loving marriage. You are one of the lucky few. But, if you feel that a divorce is inevitable, now is as good a time as any. Take a deep breath, find your resolve and move forward toward your new and better life. It’s a New Year!

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Brian Galbraith

Brian Galbraith is the owner and founder of Galbraith Family Law Professional Corporation. Brian is known in the legal community for his commitment to efficiently practicing family law using technology and streamlining the divorce processes.

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